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NCAA Bowl Previews 2015: Hawai’i Bowl

Like the teams in today’s early kickoff, the San Diego State Aztecs and Cincinnati Bearcats cannot complain about thei

  Like the teams in today’s early kickoff, the San Diego State Aztecs and Cincinnati Bearcats cannot complain about their Bowl game, as they’ll be enjoying their Christmas Eve in Honolulu, Hawai’i. The Aztecs season seemed to be in tatters through their first 4 games, they were 1-3 and were not playing very well. However, they have since won 9 straight – including the Mountain West Conference Championship game – and are looking to tie their school record for wins in a season with 11. The Aztecs have managed that with the oldest formulae in the book – run the ball and play good defense. They average 235.3 rushing yards per game (RYG), making them the 14th best rushing attack in the FBS. They also score plenty, they average 31.4 points per game (PPG), which is more than enough to win games with their defense. They limit teams to just 288 YPG (5th), 176.8 passing yards per game (PYG, 13th), 111.2 RYG (5th) and 17.2 PPG (10th). That’s quite the recipe for success. Their success on the ground is due to yet another great year by junior running back Donnel Pumphrey. He has 1554 yards and 16 touchdowns a year after running for over 1800 yards and 20 touchdowns. In addition, he has 397 receiving yards and another 3 touchdowns. When he has the ball in his hands he’s electric and will happily make several players miss. If he declares for the draft it will be interesting to see if teams look at him as anything more than a Darren Sproles or Danny Woodhead type player. Along with Pumphrey, Pearce Slater (OT), Dakota Gordon (FB), Darrell Greene (OG), J.J.Whittaker (CB), Jeff Overbaugh (LS) and Maxwell Smith (QB) are looking to put on a show in their final game. Over the past 4 seasons the Bearcats have reached at least 9 wins and they were expected to at least do that again this year. They instead stumbled to a 7-5 record thanks to several very unhelpful habits. Those being to turn the ball over frequently (-16 turnover margin) and play poor defense. On defense, the Bearcats allow 415 YPG (84th), 224.3 PYG (66th), 190.3 RYG (94th) and 30.3 PPG (98th). In comparison to the Aztecs offense, they would struggle to be more overmatched. The offense is completely different too. They average 559 YPG (24th), 373.1 PYG (4th), 186.3 RYG (45th) and 36.1 PPG (24th), which has just been enough to overcome their defense. The Bearcats top prospect, Mekale McKay (WR), has had a disappointing season that has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency, especially considering the excitement surrounding him. That excitement is a product of his 6’4” frame, long-stride running style, large catch radius and his ability to catch balls over covering defensers. He does need to add consistency to his game and he must play to his size more often to really be considered as a better prospect. The Bearcats other top prospects to watch are; Parker Ehinger (OG), Silverberry Mouhon (DE), Chris Moore (WR), Shaq Washington (WR), Johnny Holton (WR), Max Morrison (WR) and Justin Murray (OT). If you want to watch this game, or any of the other bowl games, the complete bowl schedule can be found here, where you’ll be able to see how and when you can watch every game.  

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Remy Cabache

Lifetime sports fan. I have written with RealSport since the NFL section started and I have also written for my own blog, EbonyBird.com and I have had several articles published in local newspapers covering my local (American) football team.

NCAA Bowl Previews 2015: Hawai’i Bowl

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